Benefits of Berries for Heart Health

Benefits of Berries for Heart Health

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Although tinny and small in size, berries are powerful fruit that can fight against many chronic diseases, even cancer. They are rich in vitamin C (especially strawberries), flavonoids, phytonutrients, and antioxidants; they show as excellent as preventive agents for many diseases. They are good allies in losing weight because they hydrate and nourish our bodies without the intake of unnecessary calories. Frequently, the greatest enemy in weight loss is toxins. No matter how wonderful and perfect balanced our diet is, we cannot lose weight until our bodies get rid of toxins. And this is the perfect job for berries. What is most astonishing about them, it is a fact that we need only a cup of this fruit a day to make an effect. Just to mention an example: only one cup of strawberries contains 160% of the Recommended Daily dose of vitamin C. Not to speak of many other studies that show a huge effect on participants’ health when eating only one cup of berries per day. They have experienced improvement of their overall health and have reduced the risk of cardiovascular diseases. To illustrate this, the article “The Total-Body Benefits of Berries” describes a study that has proven the benefits of berries for heart health.

Benefits of Berries for Heart Health

In a study of 72 middle-age people published recently in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, eating just under a cup of mixed berries daily for eight weeks was associated with increased levels of “good” HDL cholesterol and lowered blood pressure, two positives when it comes to heart health. Included in the mix were strawberries, red raspberries and bilberries—similar to blueberries—as well as other berries more common in Finland (where the research was conducted): black currants, lingonberries and choke¬berries.

“At the moment we do not know which berry, or berries, could have been the most active,” says Iris Erlund, Ph.D., senior researcher at the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki and lead author of the study. But, in fact, the diverse range of polyphenols—a broad class of health-promoting plant compounds that includes anthocyanins and ellagic acid—provided by the mix of berries is likely responsible for the observed benefits. Polyphenols may increase levels of nitric oxide, a molecule that produces a number of heart-healthy effects. One is helping to relax blood vessels, which subsequently results in lowered blood pressure, says Erlund.

Since they are low in calories and fat, and full of high-quality nutrients, berries are ideal for breakfast. According to nutritionists, breakfast has to be the main and richest meal, which gives us strength and energy. For this very reason, berries are perfect for raising our energy level early in the morning, and many necessary nutrients that enable our bodies feel great. They are easy to combine with other breakfast foods. We can make a delicious frappe from yogurt and berries, add them in our muesli, or make a morning smoothie. By doing so, we significantly lessen the risk of heart attack and prevent our organisms from stress, exhaustion, and diseases.

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